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Protest to remove flex banners – 5 detained by Erode District Police.

On January 27, 2024, residents of Chennimalai staged a protest demanding the removal of 300 unauthorized flex banners erected during the Thaipusam festival at Chennimalai Murugan Temple. Despite the festival's significance, the unauthorized banners sparked public outcry due to their lack of official permission and obstructive nature. Subsequently, five protestors were detained by Erode district police for participating in the peaceful demonstration, a move perceived as a reprisal against their exercise of the fundamental right to protest.

The incident highlights a critical tension between the exercise of democratic rights and state intervention, particularly concerning the right to protest. The right to peaceful assembly and protest is enshrined in various international and domestic legal frameworks, emphasizing its pivotal role in democratic societies. However, the detention of protestors by the police raises concerns regarding potential reprisals against activism. In light of these developments, HRDA urgently appealed to National Human Rights Commission to come forward to take up suomoto and initiate an independent inquiry into the incident and ensure the protection of citizens' rights to peaceful assembly and expression.

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